- Tesla will release its “full self-driving” driver-assistance system as a subscription service in early 2021, CEO Elon Musk tweeted Sunday.
- The carmaker released a beta version of the software to some Tesla owners in October.
- The “full self-driving” system, which does not give cars full autonomy, is currently a $US10,000 add-on.
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Tesla owners will soon be able to pay for the company’s most advanced driver-assistance system in installments, rather shell out thousands of dollars up front for a feature that’s not fully available yet.
The company’s “full self-driving” package will be available as a subscription starting in early 2021, Tesla CEO Elon Musk in a Sunday tweet.
Absolutely. We will release FSD subscription early next year.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 20, 2020
Tesla cars come standard with Autopilot, a driver-assistance feature that can brake, accelerate, and steer automatically. The “full self-driving” package, currently a $US10,000 option, adds capabilities that allow cars to park themselves, change lanes, and recognise stop signs and traffic lights.
But neither feature makes Teslas fully autonomous, despite their branding. No vehicle on the market today is capable of driving itself, according to the US government.
Tesla released a beta version of the long-awaited feature to some owners in October, and early videos of the beta in use show the risks of letting consumers test out a software not yet ready for primetime on public roads. Numerous recordings shared online depicted situations where drivers had to intervene suddenly to keep vehicles from crashing or breaking traffic rules.
The feature’s predecessor, Autopilot, has caught heat for what critics say is a misleading name. It’s been blamed for crashes involving inattentive drivers in the past. The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has investigated Autopilot’s role in more than a dozen traffic incidents in the past four years, some of them fatal.
Musk has said that Tesla will release “full self-driving” to the public by year’s end, but the CEO has a history of setting and missing aggressive goals for his company’s self-driving ambitions.
In 2015, he predicted that the company’s fully autonomous vehicles would be ready by 2018. In 2016, he said a Tesla would drive itself coast to coast the following year. In early 2019, Musk said he was certain that a Tesla “will be able to find you in a parking lot, pick you up, take you all the way to your destination without an intervention â€” this year.”
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